Monday, October 3, 2011

THE Trip, The Day Trip to Zion National Park, The Wild and Wonderful Ride In

CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Our visit to Zion National Park was on May 11, 2011

Wow, what a day!  A 12 hour day!  The weather at Bryce had been frightful, lots of snow squalls (in early May for goodness sake!) and, brrrr, cccooollllddddd (stuttering from the shivering and frozen fingers).  We (especially Man) desperately wanted to work in a visit to Zion National Park.  It is about 85 miles one way from Bryce, so that is almost 4 hours of driving just there and back, plus time to see the park once there.  Knowing us, that means a minimum of 6 hours once in the park.  We opted out of moving Tana over there, as there is no easy way to get there from Bryce with the monster truck and trailer.  There is a tunnel one must get through, and Tana is too long and too tall.  Several of the routes over there, that do not include said tunnel do include some pretty rough driving.  So, we opted for the day trip.

Figuring out how to include Zion was a bit of a challenge.  There is no way we can leave the fur kids for that long, there is no way they can be put in a day care facility due to their delicate health.  They cannot be taken on the bus/shuttle at Zion, nor into any buildings, and only on one hiking path.  They can stay in Big Butt, IFFFFF, the temps are below 65.  That is a lot of parameters to deal with.

The bad weather we had the first several days of our stay at Bryce actually worked to our benefit, as the temps were coolish.  We found one day when the forecast was for the moderate temps we needed and no snow to keep us grounded at Bryce.  We packed food, dogs, dog food, leashes, crates, water, several layers of clothing, the Sony, battery chargers (glad I took them, found out Sony had one battery that was in need of charging, did so on the trip over with Big Butt's invertor), and who knows what else, and we left early.

Below, the route, same both ways.

On the way out of Bryce we stopped and had a great breakfast, yum.  The drive over via 89 (south) was quite different than a lot of what we have been seeing, through a valley, lots of water in the streams, running fast with the snow melt from the higher elevations.  Green grass, cows and horses grazing.  Peaceful, restful.

Then we turned onto scenic route 9 west.  Soon we entered a new and different world.  Sandstone, white and red, different textures and shapes.  Below, this is known as Checkerboard Mesa.  How amazing are those grooves in the mesa??  It is like that all the way around!  Do you want red or black checkers??  LOL

Yes, it is ALL about texture, it just boggles my mind!  Every time, every change, boggles!!

The tunnel is interesting in that there are windows cut in the side so you can see out, of course, if you are going 25 MPH, it is hard to see more than a glance of something red out there.  (That said, friend Nita got a fantastic photo out one of those windows, and despite several attempts, I failed to get a photo, so go look at hers!  They are GREAT!)  I did get this photo when we entered the tunnel:

And, here is the same photo, close up, look at those numbers.  Goodness.  Just for reference, Tana is 13 foot 1 inch in height, and this my dear friends is one reason why we could not take Tana through this tunnel.

After the tunnel you begin a slow, awesome, breathtaking trip down into the canyons, the road is a bit steep, but, it is the switchbacks and the number of switchbacks that is so totally awesome.  The next graphic is a map thanks to GoogleMaps Earth View, showing the road after you leave the tunnel going west.  Note, to get the view I wanted, I had to print the map with north to the bottom of the graphic.  I don't like that, but, sometimes a gal has to do what a gal has to do to tell the story!  LOL  And, this is the second reason Tana and Big Butt are not allowed through this area.  There is just no way we could make these hair pin turns.

By the way, I took over 640 photos today.  I'll share only a very, very small fraction with you in the next few posts.



Nita said...

We did the opposite as you. We stayed in Zion and made a day trip to Bryce. Like you, we found it a very long day even without animals to deal with. We loved Zion (very beautiful), but found Bryce so breathtakingly beautiful, that we would love to do the reversal sometime. It was however a little too early in the year to stay at Bryce.

Cheri Hopkins aka You Go Genealogy Girl #2 said...

Gorgeous...again! Your pics make me feel like I am along for the ride. Never been to Zion so these are fun to follow. Can't imagine taking 640 pics in one day, I take a lot when traveling but not near that a day. Guess I better step it up!